The Known is finite, the unknown infinite; intellectually we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicability. Our business in every generation is to reclaim a little more land.  -T.H. Huxley, 1887

 

  HYBRID ROCKET PROPELLANT RESEARCH

This started off as an idea. Hybrid rockets generally have a low regression rate. This limits their thrust and application. Hybrid rockets need complicated measures to allow for enough mass flow rate. This is done by increasing the surface area. The regression rate may be slow, but the area*r_dot gives for a high mass flow rate. This complication takes away from the simplicity and safety of a hybrid rocket.

Instead it was proposed that a small amount of solid propellant could be added into the fuel grain to aid the burning rate. If the concentration was kept low enough the propellant would not be able to sustain combustion and it would maintain the safety of the rocket. If it increase the burning rate it would give the hybrid a significant boost.

A simple test stand was created and small lab scale motors were run. You can see the results here: (link to AIAA paper)

In the end we found that in our simple test small amounts of oxidizer assisted burning rates, where larger ones decreased it. This could be cause by a number of interactions which need to be studied further.

This paper was presented at the AIAA (American Institute of Astronautics and Aeronautics) region 2 student conference in 2007 in the M.S. division. I was awarded the top prize in the region with a chance to compete on the national level. Unfortunately I did not win that.

I have to thank Sean Fischbach, Mark Olles and Josh Batterson who helped with this project.

(P.S. I have video and pictures which I will add later.)

 

 

ŠEric Jacob